Lesotho drops charges against former PM Thabane, wife

By AT editor - 26 July 2022 at 8:06 pm
Lesotho drops charges against former PM Thabane, wife

The government of Lesotho announced Tuesday that it has dropped charges against former prime minister Tom Thabane and his wife, Maesiah, in connection with the murder of Thabane’s former wife, Lipolelo Thabane.

The Lesotho Times reports that lead prosecutor Gareth Leppan withdrew the charges because a key witness in the case was no longer available.

The former prime minister resigned in May 2020, three years after the June 2017 death of Lipolelo. Although he had insisted on his innocence and refused to step aside, his All Basotho Convention party pressured him to leave office as the investigation progressed.

Lipolelo Thabane was shot outside her home just days before Thabane’s inauguration. She married Thabane in 1987 but the two were engaged in a bitter dispute over a divorce originally filed in 2012.

A police investigation found evidence that the prime minister’s cell phone was used at the murder scene, and he was considered a suspect alongside Maesiah, who also was formally charged. The two had evaded authorities for a time, with Thabane claiming executive privilege in his role as prime minister.

However, the Lesotho police commissioner and attorney general’s office said Tom Thabane was implicated “in no uncertain terms.”

The allegations deepened the political divides in chronically unstable Lesotho, where Thabane himself was forced to flee in 2015 and lived in exile in neighboring South Africa for two years before returning to lead a new government.

Image: All Basotho Convention file

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